Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Operation Valkyrie - my opinion

I went to see the movie, Valkyrie. Being a MOT (member of the tribe), I was, of course, curious to see how Hollywood would portray these would-be assassins of the Monster of the 20th century.

I was disturbed.

The prevailing line through the movie was "not all Germans were bad." Well, of course not. Not all people are evil, in general. But, the movie did not convince me much that the protagonists of the movies were good people, either. It seemed to try to desperately push the notion that resistance to Hitler, just the act of trying to assassinate him, made these men and women heroes. And yes, if the July 20 plot did succeed, the war would have ended sooner as the Germans staging the coup were ready to negotiate with the Allies for an end to the war. But, the movie left me feeling that their motivation had nothing to do with saving humanity or stopping atrocities. It was a way to lose the warm in a more graceful (and honorable? is war ever honorable) fashion.

Tom Cruise's performance was wooden and unemotional. I never really liked the character he played (Claus von Stauffenberg), there is little or no discussion regarding why he becomes so determined to be a leading force in the conspiracy. There's some mumbling about how he is disturbed by the atrocities being committed and such. But, it never seems to be a strong motivating factor. In fact, the movie doesn't dwell on motivations, just the actions of the plot.

The movie ends with a quotation from a memorial to the German Resistance. OK, that a German Resistance movement existed was new to me. And while it's important to know that people DID resist and were not just hypnotized by what Hitler offered, still, the movie did not give me any warm and fuzzy feelings about this group of people. Perhaps if the movie had explored how and why the German Resistance started, I might have felt a bit more generous to them.

And the movie left me thinking that these people were bumbling fools. They kept trying and trying to kill Hitler and something always went wrong. In the movie, the conspirators do get a bomb to explode, but they ASSUME that they are successful instead of ensuring that the result was as expected. Reading some of the actual facts does change the perspective a bit. They really weren't akin to the Keystone Cops.

To be fair, knowing that members of my family were destroyed in the camps during the war, does color my point if view. I found it very hard to warm up to movie's vision of the German Resistance. On the other hand, it has raised my curiosity about this subject and I'll be doing a bit more research in the future to gain some understanding of this flawed resistance movement.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The uplifting effect of freshly fallen snow

It snowed all weekend. Wonderful, fluffy, snow. Close to 2 feet of the white stuff.


I don't know what it is about freshly fallen snow, but I find it uplifting. After staying in all Friday afternoon, I went out to clear off my car -- I typically do this a few times during a snow storm because I don't like having to clear all the snow at once, and it was just glorious. I walked around taking pictures -- so much fun! Saturday and Sunday were more of the same.

I spent a lot of time indoors because it just didn't stop snowing...hard. I discovered that staying in all day left me feeling "blah". I read, caught up on some work that was demanding some attention, watched TV, spent way too much time checking Facebook. All in all, I ended up feeling sluggish, sleepy, and a little sad. The minute I went outside, I perked right up. Suddenly, I felt upbeat, energetic, and much, much happier.

Tonight, when the snow finally ended, I went out and was struck by the beauty of the stark contrast between the glistening white of the snow and the dark of the night sky. The frigid air felt fantastic. I wish I had been up earlier in the morning and gone outside instead of sleeping in and then spending the afternoon working. I missed valuable snow time!

Note to self: I need to be outside when it snows. Staying in, even if it's cold or windy, leaves me in a rather miserable state of mind. Being surrounded by nature's magic is so much better than hanging around in the house, cleaning out cabinets. I need to push myself more to get out and be active. Sitting on the couch for too long is NOT good for me!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ravens at the Tower

Ravens at the Tower
Originally uploaded by greendragon50
For some reason, this photo has become the most popular one on my Flickr site. Now, my Flickr site doesn't get a lot of traffic. I like taking pictures, but I'm hardly a great photographer. But still, I find it curious that people search on ravens so often.

These ravens lived at the Tower of London. They may still be living there, but I was in London several years ago and I have no idea how long ravens live or how old they were when I saw them.

I recall being with my friend B who was fascinated by the ravens. She was chasing them all over the yard, trying to get pictures of them. They, of course, regarded us with disdain and just kept moving.

I did get lucky with this shot. I like that I was able to get two of them facing in opposite directions. Sort of a yin and yang kind of thing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


This week has been a nice one for self-improvement. I signed up for a short glass beadmaking glass at my favorite glass studio. The month of December is an "in between" month at the studio. The last session ended in November and the new session will start in January. During December, the studio has a series of short classes.

I did a full session of beadmaking at the end of last year. Since then, I've been working with fused glass. Going back to beadmaking turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to the next couple of weeks of class. Unfortunately, both beadmaking and fused glass classes run on the same night, so I'll never be able to take both at the same time. But, it's nice to have a choice.

Another self-improvement milestone is finding a local yoga studio that I like. I went with my friend B to a yoga class this week that I really enjoyed. Alright, it could have been a bit more challenging, but overall, I enjoyed it. The instructor has a very nice style -- calm, soothing, and very funny at times. One of my goals for the year was to find a regular yoga class. I think I've found it...finally.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Clutter...too much clutter

I started this year with the noble thought that I would get organized. I would get rid of all the clutter and have a nice, NEAT, home that was easy to clean.

Well, here we are, the very last month of the year. And my home is more cluttered than ever. I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! Books are everywhere...although I think I may have convinced a handy-type friend to build me some floor-to-ceiling bookcases to deal with that issue.

How did I accumulate so many shoes??? I never used to have a shoe habit...but I have many, many shoes now. Most of which I don't seem to wear anymore (they're still good...if I wait long enough, they'll be back in style. That's what I keep telling myself).

And PAPERS! I keep trying to eliminate papers. I have signed up for electronic bills as much as possible. And yet, the papers pile up. I swear they procreate while I'm asleep.

Clothes...I've run out of drawer space and closet space. I don't really have an extensive wardrobe, it's just disorganized. And I need to GET RID of things I don't wear anymore, even if I still like them (again, the issue of "maybe they'll come back in style" or "maybe I'll gain that weight back, so I should keep the bigger clothes."

Hmm. Maybe I DO have too many clothes, too.

And then, there are the craft supplies. I work with glass as a hobby. I have no good place to store all my supplies. Right now, they're tucked into a large box and a large canvas tote. In the main room of the condo. I have no place to store this stuff.

Kitchen cabinets...I have flour tucked into the back of the cabinet that I swear, must be at least 7 years old.

I'm not sure why I avoid cleaning up and clearing out. The longer I wait, the more unsurmountable the work seems. And yet, I know... a little work every day will pay big dividends. But still, I just DON'T WANT TO DO IT.

It's silly. I love a clean house. I'd be willing to hire a cleaning service...but it's just too messy right now to bring in a third party. Quite the dilemma.

What a mess. I'm sick of if it. I have a week off at the end of the month and I'm determined to CLEAN UP. Because there's a ton of house maintenance that I need to do as well but FIRST I have to get rid of all the obstacles. We're told we should live within our means. I need to learn to live within my existing SPACE! Sure, I could move, but chances are a new, larger place would just become cluttered with more stuff. (If I was a comedian, I could come up with a routine about that...wait...George Carlin already did that. He was speaking directly to me, you know).

An unemployed friend of mine has toyed with the idea of becoming a personal organizer. I've considered having her come in and help with my mess. But, it's really too embarrassing to reveal that I live like a barbarian.

OK, starting today, Operation Cleanup begins. I'll post my progress over the next couple of weeks.